Real estate agents in Israel

Despite the multitude of websites and social media platforms offering endless information on properties for sale and new projects, many people still choose to work with a real estate agent in Israel. Much of the information on the web is either in Hebrew, is out-of-date, and/or is displayed in a disorganized fashion and buyers, especially foreigners, prefer to hire someone who will guide them appropriately and look out for their best interests.

In certain countries like the US, a multiple listing service is available to brokers to share information about properties with other brokers who may represent potential buyers or to cooperate with a seller’s broker in finding a buyer for the property. In Israel, no such service exists, so aside from referrals and advertising, realtors rely upon databases that aggregate Internet and/or newspaper listings, checking websites and local papers themselves, and working with other agents.

A common practice in Israel real estate is known as ‘shituf pe’ula’, cooperation in practice, whereby one agent has the property listed and the other agent brings the buyer, together a deal is made and each party pays commission to his/her relevant broker.  Both parties meet their objectives and both agents should walk away satisfied because as we say “half a deal is much better than no deal”.  From the clients’ perspective, the service is the same, if not better since the agent is totally dedicated to his/her client and there is no conflict of interest or need to remain balanced between the parties to the transaction.

Many agents try and get “biladi’ut” (exclusivity) from the seller of a property.  This gives the agent the sole right to sell the home and excludes all other agents from communicating with the seller.  This practice advances nobody’s interest except the agent’s.  From the buyer’s perspective, if the exclusive agent is unwilling to work b’shituf pe’ula with other agents, then the buyer has to work with multiple agents which can be time-consuming and very confusing.  It also means that the agent may be pushing his/her exclusive properties before any others.

When buying property in Israel, it is important to verify that the agent/s you are working with hold a valid real estate license to practice in Israel.  You should feel comfortable working with that person and trust that he/she is looking out for your best interests.  Always seek recommendations and make sure to find out if the agent is also representing the seller/s.

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The contents of this article are designed to provide the reader with general information and not to serve as legal or other professional advice for a particular transaction. Readers are advised to obtain advice from qualified professionals before entering into any transaction.

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